If you are the parent or teacher of a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can be quite challenging to teach them certain behaviours or tasks. Although most people are aware that the learning requirement and patterns of autistic children are different, without training it may be quite difficult to change negative behaviours or teach them certain skills. Applied Behavioural Analysis therapy, or ABA, is a very important and effective tool in teaching children with autism and other special learning requirements. In this therapy, concepts and behaviours are broken into smaller and more understandable steps, which open doorways to learning giving these children a fair opportunity.
ABA therapy gives special children the ability to grasp concepts and behaviours in small and easy bites. The most basic steps of behaviours are reached and the steps are individually repeated till they are learned and can be mimicked without prompting. With time, the steps are combined together so that the child can perform routine tasks without stress or confusion. Educators need to understand that autistic children are highly capable, but their method of learning is different from other children. It is the task of ABA therapists to apply these special methods of learning for these children.
Another area where ABA therapy is quite useful in teaching children is to break negative patterns of behaviours. In autistic children scolding or reprimanding may be a kind of attention that they desire and it may be considered as a reward rather than a negative response to their behaviour, hence breaking negative habits requires a different strategy. In ABA therapy, negative behaviour is completely ignored while a positive response to the same trigger is rewarded with attention, a sticker, or some other small but enjoyable response. This conditions the child to behave and react in an appropriate manner to different situations and stimuli.
All educators, parents and school administrators should encourage their school district to integrate applied behaviour analysis. This will help a lot of autistic children and children with special learning requirements. In fact, such an approach can be useful for other students apart from those with special needs as well. Of course, the autistic children and children with special needs deserve the chance to learn while remaining among their peers and this is the reason that instead of creating special schools for them, the practices like applied behaviour analysis therapy should be incorporated in regular schools.